The earth’s vast resources had remained largely untapped until a few hundred years ago. These days the situation is significantly different. The excessive and indiscriminate use of resources have resulted in environmental concerns such as rising carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation, fresh water pollution and a plastic blighted landscape, which have both direct and indirect global consequences.
In all matters moderation is desirable. If a thing is carried to excess, it will prove a source of evil.
(Baha’u'llah, Tablets of Baha’u'llah, p. 68)
United Nations initiatives such as the Kyoto protocol, a recent proposal, GLOBE, and the latest EU climate plan can act as an indicator of the level of global concern. Such initiatives represent an effort to achieve an equilibrium mark that has been overshot. However, one important aspect is still missing:
We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.
(Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 1933)
Rather than merely tweaking an unstable system of environmental administration, it seems as though nothing less than a complete shake-up will help us reach the goal of a balanced environment:
We need a change of heart, a re-framing of all our conceptions and a new orientation of our activities. The inward life of man as well as his outward environment have to be reshaped if human salvation is to be secured.
(Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 1932)
What should be the foundation of such a “re-framing”? Part 3 will offer some suggestions.